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Eastgate: “I Was an Addict, a Degenerate Gambler, But I Got Fed Up”

you never know how much they actually own of themselves

It’s been a while since Peter Eastgate has been seen anywhere at a poker event.

In fact his last live poker cash dates back to the infamous ISPT event at Wembley Stadium in 2013.

After a hiatus of several years the former WSOP World Champion surprisingly resurfaced at the WSOP Circuit event in Tbilisi, Georgia, this week.

So what happened to the player who became the WSOP world champion in 2008 and probably won the largest prize in poker ever ($9.1 million), as he didn’t sell any action?

We sat down with him for a few moments in Tbilisi and asked.

A Sit Down w/ Peter Eastgate in Tbilisi

Peter Eastgate: I haven’t been playing poker seriously for about six years, except for a few random occasions.

Peter Eastgate
Looking for a new passion.

So, what am I up to? I haven’t really been doing that much. I moved from London back to Denmark in 2013 and I tried to study bio-medicine.

Unfortunately I failed four out of four exams so I couldn’t continue. I really tried my hardest but I couldn’t wrap my head around it.

Since 2014 I’ve just been drifting around, pretty much like in the three-and-a-half years leading up to when I started going back to school.

I’m not bored. After spending so much time by myself I’m not bored anymore. But if you look at it from the outside, it would sure look boring.

I know I don’t want to carry on like this for the rest of my life. I need to set some goals, find a passion one way or the other.

I’m okay with my situation but I wouldn’t say I’m happy with it. After all, it’s up to me to change it.

I don’t have any financial worries, so I can’t complain. I just don’t have flair to do anything specific but I know I need to find it, otherwise I’ll regret it when I get old.

PL: So, you’re retired from poker – again?

PE: Yes. Back in 2010 I retired for about eight months, then played a few events, and that was it. I’d say I’ve been retired since the summer of 2010.

PL: You told us a couple of years ago that you’d lost a lot of money in sports betting.

Peter Eastgate
"I didn’t by any means lose all my money"

PE: Yes.

PL: Do you still sports-bet?

PE: No.

PL: But no financial worries, so you didn’t lose all of it.

PE: I didn’t by any means lose all my money. I’m economically independent and I changed my lifestyle to a pretty normal one.

My spending levels are the same as of any regular guy, so I have money for the next 70 or 80 years. I don’t live a jet set lifestyle; it’s something that I don’t find very appealing.

I don’t own a car, for example, because I don’t need one. Where I live in Denmark you can easily cycle anywhere. I don’t have anything that’s fairly expensive so I can lead a pretty cheap life.

Peter Eastgate
High-stakes games in rearview.

PL: Being so far away from poker, what brings you to the WSOP in Georgia?

PE: Adjarabet contacted me through a friend of mine so I thought ‘why not spend a couple of days in Georgia and play?’

PL: is this the Peter Eastgate comeback?

PE: It’s a minor comeback. I played the main event and busted to a Georgian who flopped a set. I shipped the river with seven high and he had a very easy call.

Now I’m playing cash games. I play $1/$2, much lower than the games I used to play.

PL: The former world champion plays $1/$2?

PE: I’m enjoying it, but the money is probably not going to be life changing.

PL: Do you even still follow poker?

PE: I follow some of it, but not much. If you look at the results of players you never know how much they actually own of themselves. I would like to get the full picture.

I’d want to know what it means to everyone, what bankroll they have, their spending levels, their net worth. But you can never get that information.

So, I don’t really care if someone wins five tournaments in a row. It doesn’t make any difference to me.

Blom's swings irrelevant.

If I hear that, say, Viktor Blom wins $300k on one day and then loses $200k the next, it’s like watching the development of a stock that I don’t own.

I can’t think of anything more irrelevant to me.

PL: What do you think about bringing the WSOP to the Near East?

PE: Well, it looks like they love to play poker, so it’s a very good idea.

The tournaments are well-frequented and this is the second-most spectacular location I’ve ever played in after Wembley Stadium.

PL: Adjarabet invited you to come here. Will there be any contract or sponsorship?

PE: They’ve been treating me very well, and they are big in the Georgian market, but there isn’t any plan for a long-term cooperation.

PL: Don’t you miss poker?

PE: When I started out 10 years ago, I thought I’d do this every day for the rest of my life. When I heard people say they wanted to make enough money to be independent and then quit, I couldn’t understand it.

Peter Eastgate
"I was just born at the right time."

PL: But then you did exactly that.

PE: I did exactly that. Around 2010 I realized that I had accomplished everything I wanted. I reached a pinnacle.

I grew tired of how my mood depended so much on how I fared at the tables. The wisest thing would probably have been to keep playing without risking my own money.

I was an addict, a degenerate gambler, but at some point I just got fed up. I love playing here in Georgia as long as I’m here but I’m not going to play more when I return.

I have friends in the poker business I keep contact with but I don’t have the desire anymore to sit at a poker table for hours. I’m going to go back to my quiet life after this.

I consider myself very lucky. I could have gone on a big downswing and lost a large part of my winnings, but that never happened.

My intelligence is probably average and I have nothing to tell me that I was predetermined to win such an amount of money.

I was just born at the right time and went into the game at the right time.

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